Rebate’s Extinction Draws Near

Soon, we may be able to visit the Museum of Natural History and point and guffaw at an ugly, overstuffed, extinct beast: the rebate.

Turns out, rebates weren’t always such a good deal for consumers. Manufacturers and retailers purposely designed the system to appear user-friendly, yet difficult for consumers to successfully complete (a process called “breakage”).

Furthermore, sales tax was on the full price. Consumers sometimes ended up paying more on a rebated item than on the same item sold elsewhere without rebate.

In its stead, we may see manufacturers shifting to using gift cards to drive sales. Undoubtedly, restrictions will apply. — BEN POPKEN

Rebates on the Way to Expiring [NYT] (Thanks to Joseph!)